Ethiopia is endowed with full human Evolution time line starting from 10 million years Cheroropitchecus to the recent 150,000 years old Home sapiens sapiens.
- Cheroropithecus abyssinicus: This is an extinct ape like genus and the oldest ever identified “human” like gorilla species in Ethiopia some 11 to 10 million years ago.
- Ardipithecus kadabba: One of the oldest bipedal (walked upright) human species discovered to have been walked on two legs (identified through archaeology and paleontology techniques) in Ethiopia about 6 million years ago.
- Ardipithecus ramidus: Commonly known as Ardi—it is an early human species who is discovered as the most complete early hominid specimen (skeletal fossil), with most of the skull, teeth, pelvis, hands and feet, more complete than the previously known Australopithecus Afarensis specimen in about 5 million years ago.
- Australopithecus anamensis: This is the first Australopithecus category which shows a mix of advanced and primitive traits; it is a stem-human species in about 4.5 to 4.2 million years ago.
- Australopithecus afarensis: Commonly named Lucy or Dinknesh, who is classified as hominid, is discovered in 1974 at Hadar area in the Awash Valley of the Afar (Apharsachits) depression estimated to have lived from 4.2 to 3.2million years ago.
- Australopithecus aethiopicus: It is commonly known as the Black Skull—it became black because it absorbed minerals during fossilization, and is identified as an extinct species of the hominine Paranthropus aethiopicus. It is very mysterious to and the least known by many paleoanthropologists of the three species of robust Australopithecines, for few fragments of the “gorilla-like” fossils were discovered. It is estimated to live from 3.2 to 2.6 million years ago.
- Australopithecus garhi: These fossils were discovered in 1996, and Garhi in Afar language means ‘surprise’. It is a find of a gracile australopithecine species, a new bipedal evolutionary link who was found to be the earliest tool user—a butcher with stone tools, and analyzed more likely to be the ancestor of Homos’ than to A. africanus. This species lived from about 2.9 to 2.5 years ago.
- Homo habilis: It is an extinct species of human, the most ancient representative of the human genus. In Latin habilis means “able, skillful, handyman”; it is the earliest species in the genus Homo, of the Hominini tribe which survived to live during the Gelasian and early Calabrian stages of the Pleistocene period (roughly 2.8—1.5 million years ago). The fossils of Homo habilis have been found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa. Interestingly, environmental reconstructions of the Homo habilis’ period and sites suggest that these hominins lived in a wonderful woodland habitat with access to many rivers, lakes and streams.
- Subsequently, the wise men, Homo Sapiens, emerged as abled and capable kingdom of humanity in Ethiopia, Africa which later moved Out-Of-Africa (OOA) to settle and adapt to environments of a variety.
Eye-opening archaeologists for Ethiopia to be traced as the epicenter for the origin of human species and very prominent in Lucy’s discovery are the American Anthropologist, Curator and Archaeologist Donald Johanson and Archaeologist Tom Gray, French Geologist and Archaeologist Maurice Taieb and French-born British Archaeologist and Paleontologist Yves Coppens.
Author: Alelign A. Wudie